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‘My family in England derive endless pleasure from teasing me for my inability to articulate the difference between the brown grizzly creature and the brown liquid found in pubs’.

Philip Nanton is a writer and spoken-word performer from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who lives in Barbados.

Shake Keane

La Soufriere volcano

In the wake of the 2021 volcanic eruptions in St Vincent, the poet Philip Nanton recalls the time La Soufrière volcano erupted previously in 1979, his work to alleviate the suffering on the Caribbean island of that time and the poems of Shake Keane which responded to the events.

Shake Keane


Philip Nanton is Honorary Research Associate of the University of Birmingham. He was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and studied and lived in Britain from 1960 to 2000. Since 2000, he has lived in Barbados. His career began in British local government policymaking, and after completing his D.Phil at University of Sussex (1986), he combined the world of a practicing academic and that of a creative writer. He has published reviews of contemporary Caribbean literature in journals and magazines including Caribbean Review of Books, Shibboleths: a Journal of Theory and Criticism and Caribbean Quarterly.

He has more recently developed as a writer of humour and a spoken word performer. In 2008 he released a CD Island Voices from St. Christopher and the Barracudas: the book based on the CD was published in 2014 by Papillote Press. He has performed sketches from this collection across the region from Guyana to Jamaica. His second collection of sketches and poetry, Canouan Suite and Other Pieces (Papillote Press, 2016) was highly recommended in the 2018 Cuban Casa de las Americas Awards for Anglophone Caribbean Literature. In 2017, he published Frontiers of the Caribbean (Manchester University Press). He published Riff: The Shake Keane Story (Papillote Press) in 2021, a biography of the Vincentian jazz musician and poet Shake Keane.